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How Do You Keep a Clean House with Dogs?

by | Mar 9, 2018 | clean + simple, Jack, My Life, My Seattle House, pretty + practical

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How Do You Keep a Clean House with Dogs?

Raise your hand if you have dogs! Raise your hand if you dream about having a clean house AND dogs!

We have FOUR doodle pups in our family, two of which live in my house full time. The other two visit when they can. That’s a lot of fluff!

Even though we love our dogs so much, a clean home is important to me. We’ve found a few tips to keep our house clean enough for us, so both the pups and people can be happy.

Here are some questions I’m often asked about dogs in our house!

How Do You Keep a Clean House with Dogs?

1. Do your dogs shed?

No, they don’t. I have no idea how to deal with a shedding dog as I’ve never had one, so I will say right off the bat I don’t have any info on dogs that shed.

But, our dogs’ fur flies like any creature does, so we definitely get fluffy white fur floating through the house!

2. So how do you deal with all of the fluff?

We brush our dogs often, and get them groomed every six weeks or so. We have a housekeeper (a robot vacuum!) that we love–she keeps up with the dog dust bunnies pretty well! You can find a post about ours here.

How Do You Keep a Clean House with Dogs?

3. Do you let your dogs on furniture?

Yes. They rule the house. That was not my original idea, but I lost that battle. :) It’s OK, we adore our pups and it’s worth it to us. They bring a lot of joy to our life.

4. Don’t your dogs get mud everywhere in the house?

No, not very often. I’ll explain below!

5. How do you keep the mud from tracking in on their feet?

We’re very diligent about keeping our outdoor area as clean and dry as possible. We put bark down on soil so they don’t walk through mud. We cover up any spots they are tempted to dig.

We also have large areas of hardscaping, like patio surfacing, leading up to our doors so they have more time to shake off the mud from their paws. We also wipe their paws in the winter if needed before they come inside, although we don’t seem to have to do that very often.

How Do You Keep a Clean House with Dogs?

6. But, don’t your floors and rugs get really dirty?

We have hard floor material, like wood and tile, that hide most of the dirt at first glance, but they are also easy to clean. Most of our rugs are indestructible, too.

My favorites are the indoor / outdoor rugs, check out our rug shop! We definitely roll our rugs up when our dogs seem likely to barf or could be super muddy, just in case.

If we wanted a spotless house we’d have no kids or dogs, but we are OK with cleaning a little extra, as needed. We are also OK with accepting a little imperfection.

How Do You Keep a Clean House with Dogs?

7. What do you do when those inevitable doggie “accidents” happen on your rugs? How do you clean your rugs?

Oh yes, accidents happen! For sure. We are very conscientious about what we clean rugs with to protect our pups (and family), so we never use harsh toxic cleaners in our home or on our rugs where their little paws and noses go!

Gratefully the cleaner we use not only does an AMAZING job on cleaning rugs and upholstery, but it is also safe around family and pets (it’s all plant-based). And, it is truly THE BEST household cleaner you’ll ever have (and really the only one you even need!). It’s SUPER affordable, too (it’s a concentrate so you mix it with water, I think it ends up like .70 a bottle!).

It works on EVERYTHING!! I promise you, you’ll be as obsessed as I am with it:

Order my favorite plant-based household cleaner HERE!

How Do You Keep a Clean House with Dogs?

8. What about dirt, wear and tear on your furniture?

Most of it is washable or easy enough to clean!

The daybed we have in our living room has really be the PERFECT piece for the pups! We use a regular twin sheet and mattress pad on it, so it’s really easy to clean. You can read more about our daybed and find it and similar sources here.

When Jack and Lily were pups we had a white slipcovered sofa. In that house, our back door was right by the white sofa and we also had brand new puppies. We also had brand new landscaping! Our pups LOVED digging in that fresh soft soil!

Even so, that white sofa lasted for years with young kids and pups! (There’s no more dirt on a white sofa than a dark one, but at least with the light slipcover you know to it’s time clean it!).

You can read the white slipcovered sofa post and see the leather sofa we got next here.

**UPDATE 2018 ** We just got another white slipcovered couch (see it above!) and we spot clean it with the same plant-based household cleaner I use on my rugs (see #7).

Learn more about the white slipcovered sofa we have HERE.

The darker sofa we have has performance fabric, so it’s very easy to keep clean and the fabric is sturdy enough to hold up to the dogs. We keep sheets and washable blankets and pillow covers on the daybed.

We also have a lot of washable blankets around that we can toss over beds or furniture as needed to keep things cleaner.

How Do You Keep a Clean House with Dogs?

8. But what about the dog SMELL?

That’s kind of hard to avoid with dogs in the house, but here’s our solutions.

We keep attractive washable blankets or throws on furniture as much as possible so it’s easy to toss them in the wash. We keep things washed often (and keep the house as clean as possible, too, see the tips above!).

We also keep our dogs groomed regularly so they smell fresh, that makes a huge difference.

For the doggie smell in the house, we use pure essential oils in diffusers to purify the air with natural plant-based scents. As I mentioned we never use synthetic or toxic scents around our animals or our people, so don’t use toxic laundry soap, room sprays or use Plug-Ins or candles that can harm a pet.

Disclaimer: I only use and recommend Young Living essential oils and products, I don’t trust any other brand. YL has incredible high quality oils so they are safe around our healthy dogs when used as directed. I would be very wary of other brands or cheap oils as they may contain preservatives or fillers that are not safe for people or pets.

How Do You Keep a Clean House with Dogs?

Get this diffuser (above) here!

You will LOVE these oils and they will be a game changer for you, your home AND health! When you order your oils with my link I’ll send you lots of resources to help you learn how to use them, too.

My dogs LOVE oils. Peace & Calming comes in the kit and it helps calm Jack down when he’s feeling a little stressed (we also put it on his bandana!).

Grab the ESSENTIAL OILS HERE with my referral link (order anything you want–no kit required!). We also have a private oils education group for our members and many of us are pet lovers (and we even have a vet in our group!). JOIN US! It’s fun!

How Do You Keep a Clean House with Dogs?


You guys, I forgot to mention this one earlier so I’m adding it in because I think it’s my biggest pet peeve. I clean the main windows our dogs put their noses on every single day. Fortunately there are only a couple windows I have to deal with and it takes me less than three minutes a day to keep up on it. I don’t like dog slime on windows :).

How Do You Keep a Clean House with Dogs?

Tell me about your pets! How do you keep your home clean with furry friends?

PS…for more of our pups, you can see them on Instagram at Doodles at Home or Jack the Inspired Goldendoodle. :)

Grab ESSENTIAL OILS HERE with my referral link (no kit required, order whatever you’d like!)

How Do You Keep a Clean House with Dogs?

Related Post:

How I Keep My House “Clean Enough” – 4 Daily Routines


  1. Diane

    Jack “inspired” me to get a Goldendoddle a year ago! With wiping paws on a wet day and keeping a throw on the sofa where she likes to lay next to me, our house stays clean. My last two dogs were Labs and that was a different story! I miss those wonderful dogs but I sure don’t miss their hair. I vacuumed every day. I dusted their hair off the coffee table every day. I wiped down the countertops before cooking every time. I used a pet hair roller on my clothes before cooking. They weren’t allowed on the furniture but their hair got there anyway. I vacuumed the furniture often. And when a guest was ready to leave my house, I handed them a pet hair roller so they didn’t have to take the dog hair with them!

    • Lisa D

      Diane, I can completely relate! We used to have labs too. Hair everywhere!! In the dishwasher, inside the refrigerator.. ugh! I vacuumed every day too. It never went away! We now have a golden doodle too. She is 3 years old. We have also had 2 cockapoos that don’t shed either. What a blessing! ?❤️

  2. Tracie

    Our doodle is our first dog that doesn’t shed, and we’ll never get a shedding dog again. (We owned a collie and a yellow lab that required extensive brushing and vacuuming.) Chester does require professional grooming at 8-week intervals. We keep towels by the doors to dry his feet, and blankets on our couches for him to lie on. I’d love to have a light-colored quilt or bedspread, but he lies on the bed to look out the window. So I gave up and have a dark fleece blanket that can be washed frequently. It’s a small sacrifice because Chester adds a lot of fun to our daily living. (We met all our neighborhood friends through walking our dogs!)

  3. Sallie

    We had a chow — lost her a year ago :( — and now another chow, and they are naturally rather clean, they don’t dig, and they don’t get on the furniture very often. Infrequently shed hair tends to gather in “tumbleweeds,” so it’s easy to pick up. Muddy pawprints are the biggest issue (only when it rains a lot), but my husband (God love him!) is diligent about keeping the floor clean. We also recently replaced the carpet on our stairs with black carpet. Yes, BLACK carpet! It looks awesome and doesn’t show dirt. We love it – and our chow!

    • Ruth

      It sounds like you are cleaning all the time. Us too. We have tried to keep up with the landscaping and hardscaping. I think about half our retirement funds are out in the yard and the house is still full of mud, and worse.

      As we have aged and our bones are creaking and our muscles stiffen up and we’re in pain most of the time, we are almost in a panic wondering how we are going to manage if they live another ten years. My advice is that if you are over 55 or so, adopt a senior dog. It’s a kind thing to do for a dog, and it might be a dog whose beloved human either died or became unable to care for it. I SO wish some one had told me this about ten years ago when we got dogs with a life expectancy of 18 yrs!

      I love dogs and people who love them. Good luck to you all, and thank you for taking such good care of your fur babies!

  4. Sandy

    We have a Golden Retriever and a Springer Spaniel. Goldens shed enormous amounts of hair, so I do vacuum a ton. I have a Roomba, and it runs everyday. I think that is a must for a shedding dog. We brush them regularly which also helps. I have all tile or wood floors. My tile is a color that doesn’t just show everything immediately. I have a stick cordless vacuum that I keep in the kitchen and use frequently. We live on the water, so towels are kept at the back door for wiping down. When they are really wet, they must go sit in their kennel boxes until they are a bit dryer. Neither mind that. I made a cute linen cover for the wire kennels that make them look a little nicer in the corner of the family room. Picture

  5. danette

    That is a ton of cuteness right there! They’d be worth any mud, fur and drool in my home. I love my guy who is a Tibetan/Wheaten mix. He doesn’t shed, but plenty of random fluff flying about. I bought Ikea couches with removable covers so I can wash them. Removable coverings are a MUST. I have a brown area rug or two that don’t show dirt, also key.

  6. Amy

    OMG that gray and white throw blanket is adorable. Can you link that on your site?! Love those pups!

  7. Catherine

    It’s gotten a lot better since I took your suggestion and got a Roomba. We call her Hazel and love her!

    • Donna

      Oh Thant’s funny, my Roomba is named Hazel too! I’ve caught myself talking to her. Have an English Springer Spaniel he doesn’t shed much. I have one of those super absorbent towels that I use on rainy days before he can settle in. So worth the trouble!
      I love the golden doodles though!

  8. Jo Jo

    No pets at our house ( yet!) but we did have commercial grade vinyl slat floors put in thru out our home ( looks like beautiful wood flooring!) because we knew we wanted to get a dog eventually and didn’t want the floors marked with scratches, etc. These floors are the Easiest to clean! Water, mud, dust…impervious to it! Just quick damp mop and presto! So….looking at all the photos of your sweet Doodle Pups in this post has me wanting to get one…and maybe a Lab too! ?. Love your photos in all your inspiring posts, but especially the ones that show those happy smiling ( I swear..,they look like they’re smiling sometimes! ) Doodle Pups!

  9. Susie

    We have two terrier poodle mixes who do not shed, and they are not allowed on furniture – not because of the dirt, but because they ruined some older chairs by licking the upholstery constantly. We bought them a “pet sofa” that matches our sofa and they are quite comfortable. We are in a downtown townhouse with no yard, so keeping dirt and mud out is simple – I walk them and I dont let them get into mud! We built this house so that there is only one window they can reach (for two reasons: reduce barking and reduce the number of slobbery windows). I haven’t had any problems with them damaging hardwood, since they’re so little and we keep nails clipped and filed. Even though they are 10, they sometimes have “accidents” in the house, and always on the carpet ?. We have a BISSELL Little Green that makes cleaning up those messes quick and thorough.

  10. Kristina

    We just got a doodle puppy, so there is a certain amount of potty cleanup. Our older dog is a non-designer mutt, but after having him DNA tested, we like to call him our “chowlahoula shepherd”. He is a shedding machine, plus we live on a farm, with all of the attendant mess (we won’t talk about the mud tracked in by the human family members…). Add to that a small parrot with messy eating habits and two cats…We have stained concrete floors — our roomba is the bomb, though our new pup keeps activating her (good times). Leather upholstery is a lifesaver though.

    • Lisa D

      You gave me a good laugh Kristina ?

  11. Sharon

    We have a chocolate lab and an Anatolian Shepherd so we have So. Much. Dog. Hair. We live on 11 acres on a County Road so traffic is infrequent. When a car drives by or a deer walks through the yard or a bird sits on a windowsill, our dogs feel they should go to any of the french doors in the house, bark at the top of their lungs, and spew as much slobber as possible on said door. Running the Roomba every day is a must. She is a lifesaver. She frequently gets stuck under one couch and cries until we rescue her, but she is so worth it. I wipe down the windows on the doors every couple of days. The back door is most frequently covered in slobber because the dogs also feel the need to bark at us when we drive up leaving that door especially covered in slobber. But, you know what? We wouldn’t trade any of this for the world. The joy of these two sweet doggies makes up for all of it. I actually bought two of the same leather couches as you because you liked yours so much. Our Sunny tries to make a nest like your Jack and I can just condition the scratches right out. Anyhoo, I think the hair and slobber are part of living with furry friends and it is so worth it!

  12. Lucie

    Digging is the worst nightmare for me! Thank you for the tips! For the windows, I use lemon juice! No nose prints on that window!

  13. Christina

    I have a Cavalier Spaniel who loves to go on river walks with me.His paws and my Mum boots get some serious mud but we just have so much fun!!! I set up a short tote in my garage before we head out to give him a “pawticure” when he needs it…has been a brilliant idea if I must say so myself?Also, the most amazing mop for a clean freak living in the Pacific Northwest is a Mopnado.
    …and I love my white couch,too!!!

  14. Clara @Model Home Improvement

    You have very cute pups, Melissa! Just want to know how you are getting rid of pet smells?

  15. Maria

    we have an english mastiff and a great pyrenees- like Sharon, SO MUCH HAIR. i could vacuum or sweep 4x a day and sometimes do when i am in a mood. i love them dearly, and the Pyr especially is such a sweetie, but i will never get a serious shedder again. he’s also a drooler, a barker, and a digger. sigh. but he’s my 10 year old’s best buddy, so… forgiven! most of the time. leather, hardwoods and tile, and rugs i won’t cry when they get thrown up on or muddy. but i can’t say i am serene about it. thanks so much for this post- it’s easy to assume everyone has a perfectly clean life from pics on the internet. roomba question: how much can they hold before emptying? i have always assumed one couldn’t keep up with our level of hair.

    • Sharon

      We are dog hair club sisters! Ha! My Roomba is full after running around our main floor. I empty it each day and clean the brushes about once a week. It truly makes a difference. I have the pet version; I’m not sure what the difference is but we were advised to get the pet one. Hope that helps!

      • Maria

        nice to know i am not alone. :-) someday i will have to try one- i have been through so many vacuums and still haven’t found “the one”. i can just hear the dogs barking at it now.

  16. NancyC

    I’d use the DIY Home Planner to help plan a better look for my living room and dining area. Looks like a great book!

  17. Jody Donaldson

    Having a pet is like having a child…they make messes! We have a wonderful fourteen year old Westie. She does not shed but she has a very wet nose. Getting out the Windex and the paper towels to clean the slider is just part of my day – sort of like loading the dishwasher. She is such a part of our lives and has brought us so much joy and love, I cannot imagine life without a pet.

  18. Cindy Jane

    Hey All! My husband and I are getting a mini goldendoodle this coming Friday and we are over the moon with excitement and joy. Her name is going to be ABBA :) We too, are concerned about the amount of dog hair even though doodles don’t shed that much. This article has really made me feel much better about the whole dog and maintenance piece. I think a Roomba is in our future! My husband is a firefighter and wears dark blue to work…he, like his dad, panics at even the smallest amount of lint on his uniform. I will be stocking up on lint rollers for sure LOL! All I know, is that we are going to love the little dickens to pieces!!! Thank again , love your blog – xxoo

  19. Amy

    We have 3 dogs: 2 Labs and a Weimaraner. The Labs shed like crazy, so we vacuum frequently and mop the floors weekly. We have 2 queen size microfleece blankets we cover our sectional couch with, and there are also 2 dog beds in living room, with washable blankets on them as well. At the back slider to the yard there are always 1-2 beach towels on the floor to catch muddy feet. We have bath towels on the carpeted stairs to protect the carpet from muddy feet as they run up the stairs at high speed. Our bed has a duvet cover for easy washing. We have Pergo in the living room and our bedroom, and tile in kitchen and mudroom. When we have guests over, all the towels and covers come off and everything looks pretty again, but for everyday life, we rely on lots of towels and covers to keep surfaces cleaner. Spring is MUD season in PA, so not looking forward to more laundry and mopping, but those are our kids, so anything for them :) Love my boys!!

  20. Colleen

    Appreciate this post so much! Heartwarming to see real life on Instagram. Thanks Melissa! We have rescue pups and crave clean surroundings. I employ ideas shared, keep sensitive natural wipes at door for paws but don’t have to use often, all pillows with removable covers and they wash so well, hang them on hangers to dry and press lightly, vacuum often with dyson, one rescue gets bath weekly for skin issues, the other brushed, lots of throw blankets help protect sofa and chairs, they get washed every weekend and or rotated. Just purchased my first oils & hoping some might be good for our newest rescues sebaceous oileous & allergies. Thanks for inspiration!

  21. Katie- Lousie

    Firstly your dogs’ are lovely! I can relate to all of this I have a little hair, Jack Russell. Pet noses on the windows .. Tell me about it, Lol. My little dog is not smelly at all, but I do worry my house smells of dog. I always have a plugin fragrance in the downstairs rooms of our house.

  22. Keren Justice-Hale

    I also worry that my house smells of dog – particularly since they sleep on their own beds in our small bedroom. I am looking for ultra healthy ways to keep the air and upholstery smelling fresh. Ideas?

  23. Mirissa

    I think a big part of not having a doggy smell is the type of dog. We’ve always had pound puppies and have had a mix of lab, pit bull, Shepherd, Rottweiler, and terrier in our past 4 dogs. None were super doggy except the terrier mix. Our latest dog is a petit basset Griffon Vendéen mix (also from the shelter) and he does not smell! Not sure how that is, but it’s something to keep in mind when you’re looking for a dog. I grew up with standard poodles and even though people say they don’t shed, they lose hair like humans and so you definitely find it around. All dogs make some sort of mess :)

  24. Susan Thompson

    I love this article. We have one dog, a puggle. It is hard to keep things clean with a dog and kids. I groom the dog every 6 weeks, wash the dog blankets in his 3 beds (3 floors) every week and I bought one of the Dyson animal cordless vacuums for quick cleaning. I love the daybed you bought. I think it’s perfect for what I’m looking to do. I’m trying to find it online either for a sale or cheaper price. I think it was $1300. I’d put a plastic mattress protector and a fitted sheet on it and wash twice a week. What a great idea you gave us all. Thank you! The dogs are just beautiful!

  25. Lori

    I’m curious about the bark you put down in your yard. We have a muddy backyard and doggy play dates a few times a week so growing grass is not going to happen. I’d love some more info on your ground cover. Thank you!!

  26. Juli N

    Thank you for sharing :) We are expecting to get a wheaten terrier puppy end of this month and your post has help me prep for our new puppy

  27. Good Home Time

    I will raise my two hands sincce I couldn’t keep our house thporoughly clean. Our little pooch really help that much to keep our messy house. We do clean up our house and our pooch, it’s just that I couldn’t keep it up for the whole day. I have a little piece of piece of carpet on my living room but it poops on the edge, struggle was real but yeah, I think I shoul dlearn how you dealt with this matter. Thanks!

  28. Jamie

    I just want to say thank you for writing this post. Today of all days I needed it especially after spending hours cleaning just my living room and I’m still not done.

  29. Jamie

    Thank you for sharing :) Your dogs are cute! My family is expecting to get a wheaten terrier puppy next month and your post has help me prep for our new puppy

  30. Connie

    Hi! I was wondering where you got your blue and white curtains?! They are exactly what I’m looking for. And great blog!

  31. Vicki Bray

    Well we are very much alike in how we keep our homes clean with dogs. We use washable throws, we keep him clean, we use YL essential oils, I do vacuum every day sometimes several times but that’s okay. We love our pooch! I never let a dirty spot sit if I can help it, but the one thing is our back door has his nose and tongue prints all over it. It’s the only window in the house that he does that to so I can’t complain to much.

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